Howard County Considers Break With United Way of Central Maryland
Affluent Community Considers Break With United Way of Central Maryland
Unhappy with changes in the way the United Way of Central Maryland allocates funding, Howard County executive Ken Ulman has said he is looking into creating a group that would directly compete with the charity, the Baltimore Sun reports.
In addition to donations from residents of the county — one of the state's wealthiest — Howard County employers contribute about $2.5 million to UWCM, which raises about $40 million a year and has adopted a policy of targeting its grants to fewer agencies. As a result, some nonprofits have been left scrambling to raise funds that they used to count on receiving from UWCM. One such group, Family and Children's Services of Central Maryland, lost $500,000 in UW funding, while the YMCA of Greater Baltimore saw its funding reduced by 12 percent.
Talking about starting a new charity is easier than creating one, however, and it's not clear that local corporations would embrace one set up by county government. "It's very difficult to create a philanthropic organization and get community support," said James M. Ferris, director of the Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy at the University of Southern California.
Ulman said he is planning to increase county funding for many local agencies after several years of zero-growth funding, but noted that the money will only partially fill the gap created by UWCM's new, more targeted approach. Larry E. Walton, executive director of UWCM, said he was aware of Ulman's concerns and is creating a task force in Howard County to look into the issue.
"Howard County has some very serious pockets of need," said Walton. "We have less than 20 percent of the employers in Howard County actively participating in the campaign. The real solution in my mind is we need a much higher percentage of those companies participating."
Ulman Considers Split with United Way.
Primary Subject: Community Improvement/Development
Secondary Subject(s): Human Services
Location(s): Baltimore, Maryland